I spent one entire day so worried I made myself physically ill.
I once spent an entire week so stressed out I hardly ate. Another time, my anxiety levels were so high I hardly exercised for a whole month.
Sound horrible? It was.
Sadly, many of you have experienced similar issues with too much stress. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed or worried, let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Life is hard, but guess what?
We were meant to be happy.
Sure there will be hard times and life was never meant to be sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. But that’s kind of what makes life fun, right?
One of my favorite quotes is, “God gave us trials so we could have adventures.” I think that is true. We often learn and grow on adventures.
We always can choose to fight back when stress hits. To choose to overcome. And if we do, we’ll be better for it.
How To Better Manage Stress
The following are some of the best ways to better manage stress in your life.
These are simple actions we can do each day to turn stress into a positive adventure and be happier.
1. Keep A Gratitude Journal
This one has changed my life. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal off and on for years. I’ve noticed I’m happier, I have a better attitude, and am less worried when I’m writing in my journal every day.
Try to find 1-3 things EVERY DAY that you are grateful for and write them down.
They can be simple or grand, but over time you will begin to see just how blessed you really are.
Studies have found that those who regularly voice their gratitude, whether vocally or writing it down, have significant immunity boosts, less anxiety and depression, improved sleep, and more social satisfaction.
If you need a place to start, you can download my Gratitude Journal Workbook for free here!
This one is my favorite and works every time.
I can’t recall any instance of being stressed over some issue that taking a jog, lifting, or doing some yoga hasn’t fixed.
Of course, the problem didn’t always go away, but I felt refreshed, hopeful and better able to deal with the issue at hand.
Exercise triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins which act as your body’s natural painkillers.
This results in less worry, anger, and negative stress!
Exercise does more than just release endorphins. It can help clear a foggy mind burdened with stress.
There have been numerous studies suggesting that exercise improves brain function, which means after an exercise bout you will be better able to solve complex issues with better clarity and perception.
This could mean less stress down the road because you’re now thinking clearly and making better decisions.
Let one of those good decisions be a workout and clear some worry away.
The workout doesn’t have to be intense to be effective, just make sure it’s an activity you enjoy and gets your blood pumping!
Ok, can this be my favorite too? I LOVE to laugh.
Like exercise, laughter has strong physiological side effects. Laughter causes the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces a rewarding feeling and sense of euphoria.
Laughing can also reduce stress by serving as a distraction from what is bothering you. You might forget about it for a time and then when you come back to it, it might not seem so troublesome.
You might forget about it for a time and then when you come back to it, it might not seem so troublesome.
Next time you feel worried or anxious instead of overthinking about it, watch your favorite comedy, listen to your favorite comedian, or spend time with people who make you laugh.
When I was going to school I would make time to watch a funny TV show each night after I finished all my homework.
Some might view that as laziness or a waste of time, but to me, it was “therapy” after a long day.
I slept better and felt less stressed after some laughs with Leslie Knope, Joey and Pheobe, and Michael Scott. 😉
4. Change Your Perceptions
This one is probably the most difficult, but also the most effective long-term.
Stress is essentially caused by our perceptions.
We create stress by viewing something, someone, or some event as a threat. Some stressors truly are threats (like a bear chasing you in the woods) and many are just created in our minds.
As imperfect humans, we often turn harmless situations into disasters in our thought processes: “Well, I didn’t get into that program I wanted, so now I won’t get a good job, and then I will have to work at someplace I hate, and then I will be miserable, and then I will have no friends, and then the world will end!”
Something you can learn to do is to stop these negative thought processes. Learn to see the good in every situation.
If your thoughts spiral out of control like the previous example, ask yourself, “really?” is the world really going to end because something happened or failed to happen? 99% of the time, the answer is NO!
5. Find A Support Group
None of us have to go through hard times alone.
Find a friend, family member, or support group who you can confide in. Sometimes we just need to vent or feel like someone cares about what’s worrying us.
Don’t forget to return the favor and be a good listener when someone needs you to vent to.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.” -Bill Watterson
If you need someone to talk to, you can even message me! Send me an email, let it all out, I’ll listen and do my best to give you a virtual hug 🙂
You Got This
Stress sucks, but sometimes it can bring us to change something in our life that will ultimately make us better and happier.
We can do hard things. We can better manage stress.
God gave us trials so we could have adventures.
If you only remember one thing, remember this: You always have a choice in how you react to stress.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sick, and worried try out these 5 ways to relieve some stress and better manage it:
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Exercise daily, even when you don’t feel like it.
- Laugh. You’ll feel better immediately.
- Change your perception, it may not be as bad as you think.
- Find support. Life is less scary with a best friend.